That first sip is what makes or breaks a glass of wine, but when you are flying, the dice rolls a lot earlier.

Atmospheric pressure changes and drier air conditions, around 12 percent humidity which is drier than the average desert, when flying affect how we taste wine and food and not in a good way.

Studies show your best flavour friends, your taste buds, only work at about 60 percent of their capacity at high altitude. This is why your favourite wine might taste a little flat or different when consumed while flying.

Basically, you leave your usual taste buds at the airport and don’t pick them up again until you land.

Customised wine for flying

“The drier air in the cabinet can make it hard to really capture a wine’s aroma,” says Shelley Cox, winemaker for St Hallett.

“This is where the Eden Valley component comes in.  The higher altitude of the Eden Valley means cooler conditions and creates Shiraz with lovely overt floral aromas.  You only need a small component to really lift a whole blend.”

Meet Australia’s winemaker of the year

Try The Duo on Virgin Australia aircraft Business Class flights and in the Virgin Australia lounges.

Instead of selecting a wine that might work at altitude, Virgin Australia worked with Shelley over several months to create a customised wine, The Duo,  that focuses on delivering balanced acidity and texture when consumed while flying.

A first for flying

Virgin Australia believes this make be the first time this type of wine blend specially designed for flying, has been created.

The Duo also was designed to work with the Business Class menu developed by Virgin Australia’s resident chef, Luke Mangan.

The result is a blend of wine sourced from both South Australia’s Eden and Barossa valleys, worked to achieve a good, balanced drinking experience when flying.

Try The Duo on Virgin Australia aircraft Business Class flights and in the Virgin Australia lounges.  I’d be prepared to stray from my no-alcohol-while-flying preference to try this wine again.  I particularly enjoyed the beautiful berry flavours, the smooth texture, and the lingering flavour on the back palate.

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was gifted a bottle of The Duo.